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This course is designed to deepen understanding of the foundations, organisation and purposes of the private law; as well to provide a more detailed analysis of the areas of tort law, contract law, commercial law and property law. Private law is the branch of the law that deals with the legal relationships between individuals, rather than the relationship between government and individuals. This course aims to provide an overview of private law to non-law graduates undertaking an Applied Law degree, who have not previously studied private law. The course examines the following key subsets of private law:

Topics covered include:

  • Tort Law - including negligence
  • Contract Law - including some aspects of consumer law
  • Property Law - including personal and real property law
  • Commercial Law - including agency and business structures

    Professor Rick Bigwood

    Rick's principal teaching and research interests lie in the area of contract law. He was formerly a Senior Solicitor with the Federal Attorney-General's Department in Canberra (Office of Commercial Law). Before joining TC Beirne School of Law, Rick taught at Bond University for 5 years, and he was on the Auckland Law Faculty for 16 years before that, where he was also the Director of the Research Centre for Business Law.

    He has published widely in leading international journals on subjects within contract, equity and property law, and he has been a keynote speaker at international conferences on contract law. His publications include the following books: Legal Method in New Zealand (Butterworths, 2001); Exploitative Contracts (Oxford University Press, 2003) (awarded the JF Northey Memorial Book Award for 2003); The Statute: Making and Meaning (LexisNexis, 2004); Public Interest Litigation: The New Zealand Experience in International Perspective (LexisNexis, 2006); The Permanent New Zealand Court of Appeal: Essays on the First 50 Years (Hart Publishing, 2009); Contract as Assumption: Essays on a Theme (by Brian Coote) (Hart Publishing, 2010); The Law of Remedies: New Directions in the Common Law (Irwin Law, 2010) (with Jeff Berryman);  and Cheshire & Fifoot, Law of Contract (10th Australian edition, 2012) (with Nick Seddon).

    He was formerly the General Editor of the New Zealand Universities Law Review, and was Editor of the New Zealand Law Review 2002-2008.

    Course information

    Course code

    Semester 1 2016


    This course may also be taken as a CPD course or a non-award course.